Thursday, February 19, 2015

F for Florida

My non profit has long struggled to find it's identity. The logo said "DAAF", the full name added  below itwe called it FDAAF and there is the word "Florida" in the Foundation's full name. The image was prepared with the future in mind I guess, but the truth of the matter is, while we dream of having some of our products down the line to expand nationwide, we don't expect this to happen for at least the next two or three years. And we can't allow for what we are doing right now to be tainted by some illusive vision of the future. We have to focus on the "now", otherwise there will never bee a "then". I did tell my Board members to dream and think big. But I what I didn't mean was to do those big thigs right out of the box. My goal was to not let our size or local scope limit anybody's creativity. But we are a Florida non profit. I think that when we were looking at the logo, a perfect opportunity for national branding, combined with the actual need for more accessibility and more awareness of disability rights and issues not only in Florida, but across the nation we got over excited and ahead of ourselves. And we also thought, a logo is just a logo, it's only a piece of graphic, a brand, we can do it whatever we want it to be. We are not gonna get "there" anytime soon and I'm find with that. There's nothing wrong with being local, there's nothing wrong with being connected to a smaller community. I wouldn't probably go as far as to focus on Gainesville or the Alachua county, but the state gives us plenty of people or projects to work with. It's perfectly fine to not think of what we're doing now as a stepping stone, although we'll continue to think of ways to do more and help more. I'm perfectly content running a nonprofit that isn't planning to be a big national institution and just do our work well. Whatever happens, happens. But for now, it's a big sigh of relief for us as I feel we're pretending to be something we're not and overextending ourselves. The naming and branding was confusing for everyone. Our webdesigner, our PR person and ourselves as we were figuring out in what terms to talk about it. There's nothing wrong in admitting that we are small. That we are here; That we are local, that we will work on small budgets at least for the next 2-3 years which is as far as our planning takes us, not to get us somewhere else but to get the projects done. Our Creative Director unveiled our new logo a few days ago. It now features the letter F before the DAAF, a change you might find is cosmetic, but that signifies our change in direction. That we are happy to be "here" and "now", that there are things that we need to do, before we can even think of doing anything else and if we don't ever get there, that'll be fine too.  It was our mistake to push a brand that was one thing,  but meant something else. Thinking about that duality just took time and energy. Well, no more. We hope to avoid getting our sponsors, volunteers, donors and the media all confused. Florida, we're coming home.

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